Have you made New Year’s resolutions before? Have you kept them? What ones would you like to keep in the new year of 2014?
Set the Alarm Clock 10 Minutes Earlier
I hate when I set the alarm clock with just enough time to take a shower, slam down some toast and chug a cup of coffee just before running out the door. I did that for so many years before I finally started setting the alarm clock back to 10 minutes earlier than before. Now, I get up and the first thing I do is to pray to God and spend time reading my Bible. I pray and read the Bible before I eat or even take a shower. If I don’t start my day off with this as my priority then I am showing God that my own routine takes precedence over God’s. I do not honor God when I don’t’ give him the first portion of my day. John Wesley who was the father of the Methodist church rose up every morning at four o’clock. He spent the first part of his day on his face before God prayer and in the Bible. His church grew so rapidly because he was growing so rapidly and he disciplined his body. I believe that if every Christian woke up at least 10 minutes earlier every morning and they devoted at least five minutes for prayer and five minutes for Bible reading, they would not only grow spiritually but they would also be blessed and be a blessing to others. That routine is almost certain to make your day not only more productive but also more blessed.
Memorize One Bible Verse per Week
If you’ve always wanted to memorize key Bible verses, here is a simple technique that works extremely well. Each week, write out one Bible verse that you really think is important and put it on a 3 by 5 index card where you can see it every day of the week. Perhaps it could be on your bathroom mirror, maybe on the refrigerator door, or even on a sticky note in your car. For example, I wrote down a very important scripture that I wanted to memorize. It was 1 John 1:9 which says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I don’t know how many times I have used this in giving others hope that God is a forgiving God and that we need to learn to forgive ourselves. If we don’t forgive ourselves, then we are holding a higher standard than God does for forgiveness. So write down one Bible verse per week and in one year, you will have memorized 52 Bible verses. Some of my favorites are, as I said already, 1 John 1:9, but I have also memorized 2 Cor 5:21, John 10:28-29 (okay, that’s two), Hebrews 9:27, Romans 5:1 and many more. Most of my memory verses are ones that I wanted to memorize so that I can share the gospel of Jesus Christ without needing a Bible.
Create a Prayer Journal
I should have done this long ago but a few years ago I bought a 5 subject, wide-ruled notebook that I write down prayer requests and I put down the date so that I can look back at the results months or years later to see exactly how God has answered my many prayer requests. Here is what I put at the top of the heading:
Prayer Request Details
Person’s Name or Thing I Prayed For (even if it’s me)
Date Answered (when it comes)
Amazingly, I can look back now and see just how trustworthy God is by all the answered prayers in it. It builds my faith and it also makes a great prayer list so that I don’t forget who or what to pray for. Some things that I put on the inside cover of the notebook are those things that I pray for daily, like to glorify God, pray for my family, pray for our nation and the leaders, pray for our church family, and so on. These are permanent but the pages of the notebook have all those other people and things that I pray for. I use a new page for each day and put the date on the top of the page.
Share the Gospel Daily With at Least One Person
At first, this was a very hard one to do but I got this idea from D.L. Moody and this was one of the reasons that I so admired this man’s faithfulness and example in fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20). Yes, there are times when I have failed but I keep hundreds of Bible tracts with me at all times so that I am continually leaving Bible tracks everywhere I go and handing them to people I don’t even know. D.L. Moody promised God that he would witness to at least one person every day for the rest of his life and he kept that promise. This man truly had a heart for the lost and he showed it. He led many people to Christ by his faithfulness and this may be why God blessed this man so much that after his death the Chicago Bible Institute was renamed the Moody Bible Institute and the Chicago Avenue Church was renamed the Moody Church. If you can’t seem to do this every day, then try to do this at least once a week. I have discovered that the more times I do it, the easier it becomes and it will come more naturally to you every day and the feeling that I have in my heart for being obedient to this is indescribable.
End Each Day with Prayer and Bible Reading
This may sound easier than it actually is because many Christians do just what I did for years. I climbed into bed each night and prayed sleepy-time, bed-time prayers but I frequently fell asleep before I finished them. Then, I started a routine of reading my Bible and then praying to God just before bedtime. What I found were pleasurable benefits such as having no more nightmares, falling to sleep much easier, and sleeping more soundly. The routine of reading the Bible and praying just before bed are the bookends to my day. I start the day with prayer and Bible reading and I end the day with Bible reading and prayer. I can assure you that this is going to make your life a lot richer in many ways. When I start out the day with prayer and Bible reading, I find that things seem to go much better for me. When I fail to do this, I seem to fail at other things during the day too, so I begin each and every day with prayer and Bible reading and end it the same way. What you’ll discover is that you go to bed with so much more peace of mind and research indicates that the human brain rehearses the last things that you were reading or thinking about before you go to sleep and so the Word of God can be more instilled into your thinking while you drift off into a more peaceful sleep. Reading and meditating on the Word of God and then praying for others and for yourself and finally asking for God’s forgiveness is a sure way to have a more peaceful sleep for God “gives to his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2c).
Resolve to make 2014 a more productive year by disciplining your body and mind to take in the Word of God and to consistently pray for others and yourself. If you spend more time reading the Word of God and praying, you will begin to not only have better days, but you’ll also grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ. That is a winning proposition that will pay benefits into eternity.
Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design